By Jennifer Barton
Northcote Road has no shortage of suppliers catering to kids, from clothing stores to charity shops (we love you, FARA Kids!) – and you’ll find that many of these sell toys in some capacity (even the paint-your-own-pottery studio is stuffed full of Jellycat soft toys). But there are toy stores… and then there’s Fun Learning.
Fun Learning falls somewhere between a toy shop, a learning hub and an emporium which inspires and ignites the imagination.
Five minutes in the shop is all it takes to make you wish you were five all over again – you’ll be bringing home games you want to play with, as well as those your kid has selected.
With two London outposts (Kingston, Clapham) and one in Brighton, this independent shop has been in business for over 25 years, specialising in toys across all categories for kids up to age 12.
You’ll find all sorts of toys to appeal to all ages, stages and interests: tools for budding scientists like microscopes and insect magnifying glasses, coding toys and building must-haves like Magformers and Plus Plus, arts and crafts, colouring books, puzzles, card games, board games and more, more, more.
There are also educational-specific toys you can stock up on, like counting-based board games, numbers dice and phonics cards. Some of our favourite family games like Sleeping Queens (a brilliant card game created by a child, for children) and Smart Games’ Camelot brainteaser – that we’ve played for years and still regularly enjoy with the kids – were discovered in this shop after in-store demonstrations.
You see, hands-on fun is part of the joy of shopping at Fun Learning: while there are usually a few toys or games out on display for kids to discover (in fact, a couple of toys are usually available to play with outside, occupying kids whose parents are stocking up on bread, croissants, pizza and coffee at Breadstall, the market stall on the same block), staff members are always extremely happy to talk through any toys or teach families how a certain game works.
No surprise then that Fun Learning is a favourite venue for sourcing fabulous birthday gifts, but you’ll also find an array of pocket money toys and gifts that we like to call “the cheaper alternative to paying for a music class this afternoon so we can veg in our trackies with the kids instead” (see the Crystal Gems Mining Kit, a steal at £1.75).
Fun Learning often hosts in-store activities like face painting and workshops on weekends and over half-terms. Recently the shop has also started doubling up as a venue for birthday parties. Lucky guests get a £5 gift voucher to shop in store, so parents won’t need to organise party bags.
Fun Learning, 60 Northcote Road, Battersea, London SW11 1PA
0207 924 7066
Mon-Sat: 9am-6pm / Sun: 11am-5pm